Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Imperial Oil Ltd., the Canadian company that’s 70 percent-owned by Exxon Mobil Corp., said fourth-quarter net income increased 26 percent, as rising oil prices offset a decline in production.
Net income rose to C$1 billion ($1 billion), or C$1.18 per share, from C$799 million, or 94 cents, a year earlier, the Calgary-based company said in a statement on CNS Newswire today. Per-share profit was 30 Canadian cents more than the average of three analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Average output fell 3.6 percent to the equivalent of 291,000 barrels of oil a day from 302,000 barrels a year earlier. Scheduled maintenance reduced production at Syncrude Canada Ltd., in which Imperial owns a 25 percent stake.
Oil gained 10 percent on the New York Mercantile Exchange during the quarter, averaging $94.06 a barrel compared with $85.24 a year earlier. The company sold oil for an average of $89.06 a barrel during the quarter.
Sales rose 17 percent to $8.12 billion.
The company reported that it processed an average of 433,000 barrels a day in its refineries, a 7.3 percent drop from the same period a year earlier. Imperial’s refineries ran at 85 percent of capacity in the fourth quarter, down from 93 percent.
Imperial expects its Kearl oil-sands project to begin operating in late 2012. The project is expected to have initial capacity to produce 110,000 barrels a day, rising to 345,000 barrels by the end of this decade, according to the company’s website.
Imperial rose 2 percent to C$47.78 at the close in Toronto. The stock, which has gained 5.3 percent this year, has three buy, 10 hold and three sell ratings from analysts.
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